If you have a garden, I suggest you plant a raspberry bush. The beauty about raspberries is that they do not need very rich soil and, as long as they are in a sunny spot, they tend to flourish for years.
Raspberry bushes are also easier to manage than other berries, since they do not spread too aggressively and their canes don’t have thorns. Also, the berries you get are sweet with a hint of acidity and they impart these appealing flavours to wines, meads, and other infusions.
By now, the formula for mead making is pretty clear in my mind: add about 2 to 3 pounds of berries of your choice per gallon of liquid. Always use fresh spring water or distilled water since chlorine treated water can affect fermentation.
Equipment and tools
2 gallon plastic fermenter or glass carboy
If you are using a 2 gallon plastic fermenting bucket, make sure it has a lid with a hole. You can also use glass carboys that come with stoppers and air-locks otherwise; you’d only have to buy these items separately.
Stainless steel stockpot
Make sure that the stockpot is large enough to hold at least 3 gallons. We will be heating the honey and water in it.
Racking cane auto siphon tube
A racking cane auto siphon tube is needed to rack the mead into bottles. It consists of a double walled tube wherein the exterior tube fills with liquid while the interior is a racking cane. A siphon starts by using the tube like a pump.
Make sure you sanitize this equipment carefully. The tube has parts where fruit bits can get stuck and that can spoil your ferment.
An air-locked fermentation vessel
This is usually a glass carboy with stopper and airlock.
- Tea cups to make tea
- Mason jar
- Sanitizing liquid
You can see the complete list of ingredients in the recipe below. Most of them, you might already have at home.
Here are a couple of things that you probably don’t have already and need to buy:
- Campden tablets (potassium metabisulfite) – they prevent oxidation of favourable yeast and also stop wild yeast and bacterial growth in the mead. Use Campden tablets only if you are using chlorinated water. Campden tablets are not needed if you use spring water.
- Wine tannin and pectic enzyme – these prevent pectin haze or the milky appearance in fruit wines and meads.
- Red Star Montrachet yeast – needed for fermentation.
Here is a great recipe for raspberry mead. I am sure you will enjoy making it and waiting for it to age as well.
- 3 lb (approx 1.4 kg) raspberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 3 bags of raspberry tea
- 2 lb wild honey. You can also use raspberry honey for an added flavour.
- 1 Campden tablet (potassium metabisulfite). Note: only needed if you are using chlorinated water
- Wine tannin and pectic enzyme
- 1 package Red Star Montrachet yeast
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- 1 ½ cups orange juice at room temperature
- Sanitize all the jars, cups, stockpots and equipment. Crush the berries and transfer them to a 2 gallon plastic fermenter. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and zest.
- In clean tea cups, brew the tea by boiling water and steeping the tea bags for 5 minutes.
- In the stainless steel pot, heat honey and water for 10 minutes. Skim off the foam that rises to the top.
- Pour the honey mixture over the berries; add the tea and 1/8th teaspoon of wine tannin. Wine tannin helps to clarify and mature the mead. It also acts as a preservative and aids in the mead’s aging process.
- Allow the mixture to cool. Once cooled, add pectic enzyme and enough water to make about 1 gallon. Add the Campden tablet. As explained before, the tablet is a wine sanitizer and is particularly important if you are using chlorinated water. Now allow this must to stand, covered, for at least 24 hours.
- Combine the yeast, yeast nutrient, and orange juice. Cover, shake vigorously, and set aside until bubbly (at least 1-3 hours). Add the mixture to the must.
- Allow the mead to ferment. You can rack the melomel after most active fermentation. Use the siphon and racking tube to siphon the mead into a 1 gallon carboy having an air lock.
- Again siphon off the mead after 3 months in another air-locked container.
- Rack the melomel one last time (approximately a year from preparation). You can now bottle the mead.
- Cork the finished melomel and store the bottles in a cool cellar. Age the mead for at least 6 months before opening the bottle. Make sure that the fermentation is done before aging otherwise the bottles can explode. You can place the bottle on its side for aging as it allows for more even flavour.
As you can see, raspberry melomel or raspberry mead requires time; approximately a year. So be patient. After all: good things do come to those who wait! Drop in a comment below once you try this recipe!